The below blog post is by Jérôme Savy, Director of Human Resources for AT&T in the Europe, Middle East and Africa

Throughout Europe, Member States are seeing significant youth unemployment. In France, more than 150,000 young people drop out of school each year without any education qualification or diploma leaving them without the skills to have successful social and professional integration in a 21st Century economy.

Supporting education has been a priority for AT&T for more than a century, and AT&T Aspire, the company’s $350 million signature philanthropic initiative, is focused on helping young people in the United States complete secondary school prepared for continued study and careers.

In France, more than 150,000 young people drop out of school each year without any education qualification or diploma leaving them without the skills to have successful social and professional integration in a 21st Century economy.

As part of our efforts, we’re harnessing the power of AT&T employees, who are eager to mentor students and make a difference in their lives. With the support of the United Way France Success at School program, AT&T welcomed 18 middle-school children to our company’s French headquarters in La Defense. Twenty AT&T volunteers worked with the United Way to mentor students living in underprivileged neighbourhoods.

After an introduction on the evolution of the telecommunications industry over the past 135 years, students had small group discussions with AT&T employees to learn about the various jobs available in the telecommunications industry – and also about the career paths of the AT&T associates and the obstacles they faced along the way.

Students also participated in a live video conference mentoring session via AT&T Telepresence and had the chance to speak with our colleagues from Belgium, Spain and south of France. The WOW factor was instantaneous – these huge screens and the quality of the communication really impressed the students.

The last session was a bit of a surprise: we invited the students to introduce themselves in front of our video camera. Far from being shy, they enjoyed the opportunity to boost their confidence levels and to be in the spotlight!

Supporting our students is one of the most important things we can do. We are always excited to have the opportunity to talk with students about opportunities in the workforce, and we hope to help inspire them to excel in their studies, on their path to becoming the next generation of great innovators and employees.

This post originally appeared on the AT&T Global Public Policy Blog.

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